CW: Death, grief
I am trying to be better. I’m trying
to be a Buzzfeed article: “Ten Ways
to Get Better Sleep” or “Explaining
the Body Neutrality Movement.”
I’m not a bad person, but I think
about breaking things with my fist
or tongue. This white afternoon glints
off the knife and the dog’s dark eyes.
I bring it down on the cutting board.
Dirt doesn’t sit well in the disposal;
mushrooms play dead on the horizon.
Don’t look at the horizon, and don’t
look for me behind you: I’m not in
the cave, I’m sitting in the shower
or pushing my paper limbs like a
cart through the grocery store aisles.
My hands, reaching for the light,
instead clasp a city of sin. Some
mornings I wake like a car crashing
into a bridge. Don’t look at it, the car
and the body and the water the same
all at once, please, I’m trying to be
better. Instead - kiss me here and
here and here, the light making glass
houses of old wounds. Why haven’t
you saved me yet? Was it the kitchen
on fire, or the smoke in my head leaving
charred lines like arrows in the desert?
This isn’t gasoline dripping from my
pointing arm, finding Sodom again and
again like a compass needle. I’m not a bad
person, it’s the city inside me, the city I’m
trying to escape, the water I was forged
from. No, I’m trying to find it: the promised
land where the light rises from every cup
at once into the coffee sky, figures poised
and silhouetted, laughter unwinding like a
roll of film. Take me there. Just don’t look back.
Ella Rous (she/her) is a first-year student currently attending the University of Texas at Austin as a Plan II and psychology double major. Though her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Emerge Literary Journal and Red Lemon Review, she is best known for being vocally queer and for her zebra patterned platform crocs. Her twitter handle is @creatingella.